Earlier this week, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) announced the election of 120 members and 23 international members, considered to be one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist or engineer.
Christine Jones Forman of the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA) was one of those selected in honor of her distinguished and continuing achievements in astrophysics research.
"Dr. Jones has made tremendous advances in our understanding of galaxies and their dynamic environments," said Lisa Kewley, Director of the CfA. "Her election to the US National Academy of Sciences is a great recognition for her many achievements."
Dr. Jones received her PhD from Harvard University in 1974, and was a CfA Postdoctoral Fellow at the CfA from 1974‐1975. She was a Harvard Junior Fellow between 1975 and 1978, after which she joined the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) – part of the CfA -- as an astrophysicist. She has played a pivotal role in the development of the field of X-ray astronomy, spanning NASA missions from the Uhuru X-ray Explorer Satellite to the Einstein Observatory to the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Dr. Jones was a founding member of the Chandra X-ray Center, leading the calibration team for many years and continuing to support the mission through her research and advocacy to the present.
In addition to receiving many prizes for her work, including the Bok Prize, the AAS HEAD Bruno Rossi Prize, the Marcel Grossmann Prize, and the Smithsonian Secretary's Distinguished Research Lecture Award, Dr. Jones also served as the president of the American Astronomical Society from 2016 to 2018.
The citation for her NAS election reads: "Jones is a defining presence in X‐ray astronomy. Using multi‐wavelength observations, she discovered and extensively investigated several massive X‐ray binaries. She revolutionized our understanding of galaxy clusters, demonstrating that many are dynamically young, tracing their dark matter content, and probing energetic outbursts from supermassive black holes in their central galaxies."
The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. It was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln that calls on the Academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.